I am–how to put this a nice way–incredibly skeptical about the value of the “about me” page on an author website. They say you’re supposed to have one. (“The biggest liar in the world is They Say.” ― Douglas Malloch) I mean, what do you want to know about me? I am not particularly interesting. I am fiftysomething years old and live in New Jersey. I work for a small social services agency in Philadelphia, doing human resources. I like to make Texas barbecue and Mexican food when I have time, but that’s only because you can’t get really good Texas barbecue and Mexican food in New Jersey. I have opinions about things that you probably don’t care about. I grew up in Texas and moved up north something like fifteen years ago and live in a perfectly anonymous mini-mansion in a perfectly ordinary development that’s parked on top of a large natural gas pipeline WHICH COULD EXPLODE AT ANY MINUTE and that’s about it for drama around here. (If you need to contact me for some reason you can do that.)
I have this website for two basic reasons. One is to sell books. Which you can totally buy, it’s still legal. The other one is to publish stuff that would (ahem) otherwise not get published. I have a pretty good record of getting stuff published at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, but I strike out a lot more than I hit there lately, and this is a way for me to recycle some of those pieces that don’t make the cut. I have yet to publish anything in The New Yorker “Shouts and Murmurs” space, which is a lot more competitive (I mean, you’re competing against the likes of Woody Allen, what the actual hell) and I am going to get that accomplished one day, but today is not that day.
So what I figured I would do here, since you probably (almost assuredly) do not want to know anything about what’s going on with me right now (it’s December 2020 as I write this, and everyone is experiencing the same spitball fight between anxiety and depression), I thought I would talk about what the next projects are.
- A Circle of Moonlight: That’s the working title; it’s the sequel to A Circle of Firelight. As Ashlyn Revere continues her rehabilitation from the severe brain injury she experienced in the last book, her sister Penny is in New York undergoing a lung transplant. But when Penny experiences a life-threatening setback, the only way Ashlyn can save her is to re-enter the dream realm of Summervale on a last-ditch rescue mission. I am about 30,000 words into this, so I’m on track to finish it sometime early in 2021. It will be self-published; I’m not even going to bother querying – just need to find an editor and get the cover art done.
- Depressing Country Songs: I have had a website about this for awhile that I haven’t updated in years, and it got hacked, and I need to rebuild it from the ground up, and it’s a total pain in the neck. I think I can salvage a lot of it but who actually knows.
- Wordmarks: I have a long-term project centered around baseball and typography and that’s all I am going to say about that.
- The Political Project: I have a book I would like to write (won’t start on it until the current WIP is done) that is tentatively titled Everyone Should Shut Up and Listen to Me, but that’s probably not what it’s going to be called. The basic thesis is that there’s an opportunity for the Republican party to return to relevance by focusing on reforming Social Security and health care, but that is going to require a level of thought that the Republican party, as currently constituted, is not actually capable of at the moment. Chapter titles include “The Ghost of Calvin Coolidge” and “The Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Party” but it’s still very much in the initial planning stages.
- Another Law Review Article: I have written five law review articles, which is probably not something you would expect me to say. The next one (probably the last one) is going to be a case study of my favorite opinion, Mary Jo v. New York State and Local Retirement System, in which the Second Circuit decided that the ADA Title II “reasonable modification” provision extended to a provision of state law. The law review article would examine how that precedent was (or was not) followed by other courts. The problem is that, to get the documents I need to write the article, I would actually have to schlep over to Rutgers with my laptop to access Westlaw (they won’t let me have alumni access off campus) and writing a law review article that no one will ever read isn’t worth the risk of getting coronavirus, thank you very much.
- The Civil War Project: I want to write a history of an upstate New York regiment which was led by a distant relative on my mother’s side. Someone already did that, a hundred years ago, and did a good job, but I want to take a crack at it myself. Again, the initial research has been delayed a good bit by the coronavirus.